Is the Bedek 777-300ERSF freighter a threat to the 777F?

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

September 9, 2021, © Leeham News: In our series on freighters, we now look at the new large conversion freighter from GECAS and IAI Bedek, the 777-300ERSF. How much of a threat will it be to Boeing’s largest freighter, the 777F, when it enters the market next year?

The 777F has the dimensions of the 777-200LR, whereas the 777-300ERSF is a P2F conversion from the larger 777-300ER. What does it mean for cargo payload and volume, and what are the differences in operational economics?

Summary
  • The 777-300ERSF freighter will be the volume leader among large freighters.
  • IAI Bedek has also worked hard to increase the weight capability. How close can it get to the heavy lifting 777F?

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Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 7, 2021, (c) Leeham News: My book, Air Wars: The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing, is now available on Amazon.

Three years in the making—delayed by the need to include the Boeing 737 MAX crisis and the impacts of Coronavirus—Air Wars is a combination of a biography of John Leahy and the 1982 book, The Sporty Game. The Sporty Game was considered the definitive book about the competition between Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and the young Airbus.
Leahy worked for Airbus for 33 years, 23 of them as the chief commercial officer for the company. Throughout executive turmoil at Airbus, and at Boeing, Leahy was the one constant salesman. Boeing officials were slow to recognize the threat Airbus and Leahy presented. The wake-up call, according to a top Boeing salesman at the time, was the 1992 order from United Airlines for Airbus A319s and A320s. United considered the airplanes superior to the 737-300/400. The order prompted Boeing to develop the 737 NG. From there, the global combat became a “bare-knuckle brawl,” as journalist Dan Catchpole put it this week.

Executives and salesmen from Airbus and Boeing were interviewed for Air Wars. So were industry leaders. My own archival resources and reporting were used as well.

The result is a book that describes the successes and failures of Airbus, Leahy, and Boeing. It describes how Bombardier came out of nowhere to become a threat initially dismissed by Boeing—but recognized by Airbus. Air Wars describes the sales campaign that launched the A380 and killed the proposed 747-500/600—but led Boeing to the 787.

Air Wars begins with the crucial sales campaign with American Airlines that led to the decision by Boeing to launch the re-engined 737 program—which later was branded as the 737 MAX. The book also dispels the myth that Boeing was hasty in designing the re-engined 737.

Many untold stories are in Air Wars, including sales campaigns, product strategy decisions and personal anecdotes about Leahy—including how McDonnell Douglas tried to recruit Leahy from Airbus in the early 1990s.

A synopsis of the book is below.

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Pontifications: David Joyce fills key void on Boeing’s Board

Sept. 6, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week’s election of David Joyce to the Boeing Board of Directors fills a glaring hole of talent and expertise that’s been missing from the Board for years.

By Scott Hamilton

Joyce, an outside director, brings commercial aviation and engineering experience to a Board that has been dominated by political, defense and financial expertise.

Following the two 737 MAX crashes in October 2018 and March 2019, the Board came under criticism—including from LNA—about the lack of technical, commercial, engineering and pilot representation. The 2018 Board had one commercial airline expert, from the executive suite: Lawrence Kellner, the former CEO of Continental Airlines. David Calhoun worked for GE for 26 years for the transportation, aircraft engines, reinsurance, lighting and other GE units. He left GE in 2006. From that point forward, Calhoun focused on finance industries. Dennis Muilenburg, an engineer, came from Boeing’s defense side.

But, as the table below illustrates, the 13-member Board was top-heavy with other disciplines.

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777X demand grows ever less certain

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By the Leeham News Team

Introduction 

Sep. 6, 2021, © Leeham News: As Boeing slogs through an increasingly deep obstacle path to getting its beleaguered 777X into service, questions are growing around the airplane’s true demand and whether Boeing can ever break even on the program.

The manufacturer classifies 74 orders as questionable under the ASC 606 accounting standard. Boeing now counts only 246 777X orders as firm. It now expects entry into service to occur in late 2023, although key customer Emirates Airline believes this is more likely to be early 2024.

There are officially still eight identified customers for the passenger 777X: ANA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. But COVID-19 is forcing major network carriers like these to rethink their long-term growth plans. Increasing competition in Europe and Asia over a likely permanently smaller set of business travelers means even fewer of these orders are likely to remain intact.

Boeing’s first 777X departs on its maiden flight in January 2020. Source: CNN.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun recently said a freighter version of the 777X might replace today’s 777F. New ICAO noise and emission standards mean that the 777F and 767-300ERF, can’t be produced after 2027. But it’s unclear whether the 777-8F — a program that hasn’t been launched — will be ready by 2028.

Summary
  • Passenger 777X is troubled by permanent loss in premium traffic, poor financial risk profile.
  • 777X freighter demand is limited by 777F classic market size, P2F conversion feedstock.
  • The air cargo market will revert to historical norms.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 19. Test rigs for ground and air use

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca

September 3, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the Certification Compliance Planning we do concurrently with Detailed Design, Figure 1.

It’s now time for us to work on our Test rigs and systems for ground and flight testing. We need to get these defined before we freeze the aircraft’s configuration and start making our flight test aircraft.

Figure 1. The program plan for our project. Source: Leeham Co.

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The single-aisle freighters, 737-800BCF versus A320P2F.

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction  

September 2, 2021, © Leeham News: In our series about freighters, we now look at domestic single-aisle freighters based on the Boeing 737-800 and the Airbus A320. The 737-800BCF is the follow-on small Boeing freighter conversion from the 737-400, as more 737-800 passenger feed-stock becomes available.

There is also ample feed-stock of older A320-200 with market values that make these interesting as a P2F freighter.

Which one of the two offers the lowest costs per tonne-km? We use our performance model to find out.

Boeing’s 737-800BCF Source: Boeing.

Summary
  • Both the 737-800 and A320 older aircraft are available at prices that make freighter conversions attractive.
  • Which of these freighters has the best operating economics, and what is the difference in capacity?

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Rejuvenating the current in-service cargo fleet

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Aug. 30, 2021, © Leeham News: The COVID-19 pandemic lingers on passenger airlines, delaying a full traffic recovery. At the same time, the freighter market is very active and shows no signs of abating.

Credit: Airbus

A surplus of passenger aircraft and record cargo demand means that passenger-to-freighter conversion lines are firing on all cylinders. On top of the existing Boeing 757 and 767 lines, new ones are coming online to convert Airbus A321s, A330s, and 777-300ERs.

Airbus launched the A350F program while Boeing is pondering a 777X-F program. Airbus is also discussing the launch of a factory A321F. The European OEM wants to increase its footprint in a Boeing stronghold.

Boeing also keeps accumulating new freighter orders at a healthy pace.

While some factory-built and converted freighters will be for growth, a significant portion will replace older in-service aircraft.

To complement the ongoing series comparing the economics of freighter aircraft and analysis of historical deliveries, LNA now examines the current in-service fleet. Analyzing aircraft in operation will help determine the most promising replacement opportunities for converted and factory freighters.

Summary
  • Overall jet freighter fleet view;
  • Significant single-aisle replacement opportunities;
  • One market concentrates most small dual-aisle fleet;
  • One large freighter fleet up for replacement;
  • A factor that could accelerate replacements.

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Pontifications: IAI moves to cement lead in 777 P2F conversions

  • IAI, Etihad ink Boeing 777-300ER P2F deal.
  • De Havilland union sniffs kerosene.

Aug. 30, 2021, ©Leeham News: The agreement last week between IAI and Etihad Airways to open a Boeing 777-300ER P2F conversion line in Abu Dhabi gives a major boost to the burgeoning program.

By Scott Hamilton

In addition to the history-making tie-up between an Israeli company and the United Arad Emirates, and a commitment by Etihad to convert 777s to freighters with IAI, the move is a major coup for IAI to win other Arab airline business.

IAI and the former GECAS, which was acquired by AerCap, launched the first 777 P2F program in 2019. GECAS ordered 15 conversions of the -300ER and optioned 15 more.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 18. Certification work after program launch.

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

August 27, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we started looking at our work during the Detailed Design phase after Product Launch. We outlined the exacting work needed to design all parts of the aircraft and how we must keep everything in sync.

An essential part of keeping everything in sync is the Certification Compliance Planning we do in this phase, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The program plan for our project. Source: Leeham Co.

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The factory freighters, Boeing’s 767-300F versus Airbus’ A330-200F

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction  

August 26, 2021, © Leeham News: In our series about freighters, we try to understand why the Boeing 767 factory freighter, the 767-300F, has outsold the Airbus entry, the A330-200F, six to one. In the passenger variants, the Airbus A330 is the more popular model with a 30% delivery advantage.

We model the freighters to understand any technical and operating economics differences; then we complement with market observations.

UPS was the launch customer for the 767-300F, with first delivery in October 1995.

Summary
  • The Boeing 767 freighter is the market’s most successful widebody freighter after the Boeing 777F.
  • It has, over the years, trumped the Airbus entry, A330-200F six to one in sales and five to one in deliveries. We investigate why?

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